Monday, July 07, 2008

Monday 18th September 1939

Colossal numbers of men sick this morning. Dean and Ling did not appear at all and Pond reported sick at second parade. All due to vaccination, doubtless..

I was sent to RHQ with two of the survivors, to collect and check new wireless equipment. These were then taken to Battery HQ and we stored then away neatly in an empty room at the back of the house. This occupied most of the afternoon, as well as the morning and made a nice change from routine work.

Sergt. Major Essler – ex-regular – has taken Sergt, Major Millers’ place as BSM. Have nothing against him personally, but he seems rather inhuman with his glittering, unsmiling eyes and general curtness. He is not unduly popular.

Sergt. Quayle went to a senior NCO’s meeting tonight and told us later that we must all remember that the unit was now subject to Regular Army discipline in all it’s grim forms. He also said that they were going to be stricter as regards information – that soldiering must not be discussed in cafes etc or on the telephone. (A few minutes before, I’d been in a café whilst Sid Pond, still sick and fed-up, was stating his conviction that we’d lost the war already. Things do seem rather gloomy, our “Courageous” torpedoed with a loss of 500 men and Poland over-run by Russians and Nazis.)

Went out with Mary tonight. Nice to be with her – tender and motherly! The gloom which had crept over me, lifted again. We sat in the car on Galleywood Common and listened to Mary’s portable radio set. It didn’t function too well. We had supper at the jolly old Sunbeam once again.

Petrol rationing has been postponed for a week. My car insurance has now expired but I’ll run Slinky until the end of the month, and hope for the best.


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